The last thing you want when travelling is to start your trip super stressed out at the airport. Over the years I’ve nailed down my pre-travel and airport routines so that I never feel rushed, uncomfortable or worrying that I’ve left something essential behind.
Want to know how to glide through the airport, without breaking a sweat and in general, enjoy the act of travelling — the actual getting from A to B — a bit more? Well, read on for my five essential tips for stress free air travel.
01 | PLAN AHEAD
I’ve written before about how I plan ahead to make sure I don’t overpack, which you can check out here, but I also plan ahead for every element of a trip, making lists of everything I need to buy, pack and do before I leave at home and work – it just makes life so much easier and stress free.
Whether it’s a note on your phone or old school pen and paper putting down all those must do things and checking them off as you go means you can head to the airport knowing you’ve done all the essentials – from cancelling the milk to putting on your out of office email notification.
Keep this list with you throughout your entire travelling preparations and, if you’re a nervous traveller, it might be helpful to even take it with you in case you get struck down by a case of the “oh did I remember to…” whilst en route.
02 | DOWNLOAD THE APP
Most airlines now have their own apps and using them can make travelling much easier. It can update you with vital information as soon as it’s available, meaning you’ll know sooner if there are any pesky flight delays etc. Most apps also give you a way to communicate more directly with your airline should the need arise which can be a stress saver if you’re already at your destination and a problem crops up with your return journey.
I also really recommend using your phone’s Passbook feature to store electronic boarding passes, if they’re available. It’s one less thing to worry about mislaying and feels like much less of a hassle than keeping hold of a paper boarding pass.
03 | CHECK IN BEFORE YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT
I can’t think of a single airline that doesn’t allow you to check in online for your flights. It’s such a time saver as you can avoid queues at the airport and instead head to bag drop if you’re flying with checked baggage or straight to security if you have hand luggage only.
04 | DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Everyone wants to look chic as we sail through the airport but when travelling, practicality and comfort really should be your priority here – sure you can keep it stylish, but my go to travel outfits always feature a muted colour palette (generally black because it hides a multitude of mishaps from spills to sweaty armpits!) and I favour clothing that has some stretch to it so I can be both comfortable and not arrive looking like a crumpled mess. Structured pieces really don’t survive well on a flight.
A blazer will add sophistication if you’re wanting to up the airport style stakes and can be easily removed when going through security / stored during the flight. Layering is also essential if, like me, you find you can go from “hotter than the sun” to “freezing cold” several times during one flight. I tend to travel in a vest top, with a lightweight top over that and carry a jumper or cardigan in my hand luggage.
05 | BE A SECURITY SUPERHERO
I’m constantly amazed at how many people seem to suddenly find themselves shocked when arriving at airport security that they need to do things like remove jackets, belts, jewellery etc, that liquids need to be 100ml or less and stored in a clear plastic bag and that electronics have to be scanned separately.
Don’t be one of those people. Those people suck and delay the rest of us. Plus, these are always the people that then seem to be super flustered, trying to frantically get all their stuff together because they’ve had to empty their entire bag at security to get out the lipgloss rolling around at the bottom of their bag.
When packing hand luggage try to ensure that electronics and liquids are easily accessible to speed up the process at security, along with your passport and any travel documents. Liquids need to go in a clear plastic bag, but I also use one for any electronics and wires so they’re all together and easy to grab, not just at security but also in flight.
Finally, I generally always travel in ballet flats which can be easily removed when passing through security (and often the soles are so thin you’re actually allowed to keep them on).
If travelling in winter or to a colder climate, I’ll put my heavier boots in a carrier bag to go through security with and then change into them once I’ve got a seat in the airport. I’ve always found this saves me time compared to the occasions I’ve worn boots and had to remove them and then put them back on. If I want to wear any jewellery or a belt with my outfit I put these in my hand luggage and don’t bother with them until after security. It’s just so much quicker and easier this way and honestly, for the 10-15 minutes you’re pre-security at the airport nobody is going to be judging your lack of accessorising!
If I had to pick only one of these tips to follow it would be the last one because security can become really time consuming if you turn up completely unprepared and really gets your trip off to the wrong start.
Any airport or travel tips you use to save time and make travelling a breeze?